3 Solid Email Marketing Tips for Not-for-Profits
Email can be a great way to communicate with your donors – if it’s relevant, timely, and targeted. It can also be used as a conversation starter (offering them one of your services or to attend an event) but isn’t an advertisement.
Before you get started: Be sure you also define the objective, the offer, and your target audience. Who do you want to reach and why are you sending them an email? What is your purpose of sending this email and how can you leverage email to do this? Is there a way you can use email to guide them to your website? Or can you make better use of the email by giving them an incentive to forward the news to their friends who also might have similar interests?
Here are some more suggestions:
- It’s okay to take a little more risk. In non-profits, your donors and friends are likely already passionate about your cause. Write the email from the perspective that you are offering to help them – write it from the customer service perspective. Any email that looks like a personal note with a real signature from someone at the non-profit is also very effective. It shows you are really interested in them.
- Be sure to test! Testing your email helps improve the effectiveness of your communications. Why did they respond to this one more quickly than the last? You can test a variety of things including the subject line, from name and email, incentives, and send times. You’ll want to target specific donors at specific times to reach them – many people already complain they get too much email.
- Don’t use “marketing speak”. Don’t speak to your donors like you are trying to sell them something. Talk to them like a real friend, a supporter. They aren’t a target, they are a person. Email isn’t free advertising and it certainly isn’t a blast.
Personalizing and testing your email is extremely important and you need to do it all the time. Also keep your reader top of mind and read your email from their perspective, not yours.
About Erika Roe:
Erika Roe is the Matching Gift Manager at NC State University. She has been in higher education since 2006 and worked and volunteered in non-profits since 2003 including the North Carolina Symphony and WCPE Radio. This summer she will complete her MBA in marketing. She also received the Red Pill Email award and is a contributor on SupportingAdvancement.com